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Summary of domestic news in North Korea this week

All News 17:25 February 21, 2020

SEOUL, Feb. 21 (Yonhap) -- The following is a summary of domestic news in North Korea this week.

N.K. leader visits late father's mausoleum in first public appearance in 22 days

SEOUL, Feb. 16 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un visited a mausoleum in Pyongyang to commemorate the birthday of his late father, state media reported Sunday, in his first reported public appearance in 22 days.

Kim paid tribute at the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, where the bodies of his late father and former leader, Kim Jong-il, and his grandfather and founding leader, Kim Il-sung, are enshrined, the official Korean Central News Agency reported.

Kim "visited the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun on the occasion of the Day of the Shining Star, the greatest auspicious holiday of the nation," the KCNA said, referring to the late leader's birthday by its official name in the communist nation.

N. Korean media reports on preventive efforts against coronavirus for college students

SEOUL, Feb. 17 (Yonhap) -- A North Korean propaganda outlet on Monday reported about efforts to prevent the outbreak of the new coronavirus among college students set to return to school after winter vacation.

North Korea has not confirmed any infection cases of the COVID-19 virus that originated in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December, but it has beefed up preventive and quarantine efforts against the highly contagious virus that has been spreading to many other countries.

"Hospital workers in close cooperation with college administrative officials and youth league people are making preemptive efforts to completely brace for any students showing abnormal symptoms in tests after returning from their vacation," Tongil Voice, a North Korean propaganda radio broadcast, said, referring to efforts under way at a hospital affiliated with Kim Chaek University of Technology.

N. Korea reaffirms no new coronavirus infection

SEOUL, Feb. 18 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's official newspaper reaffirmed Tuesday that there has been no confirmed case of the new coronavirus on its soil amid speculation that Pyongyang might be concealing an outbreak.

The Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the North's ruling party, carried an article in which a public health official emphasized that there has been "no single confirmed case" of COVID-19 infection.

He said the nationwide preventive measures, including the swift implementation of an emergency quarantine system launched immediately after the outbreak in China have paid off in blocking the flow of the highly contagious virus.

N. Korea expected to hold gymnastic shows in Aug. and Oct.: tour agency

SEOUL, Feb. 18 (Yonhap) -- North Korea is expected to hold its signature mass gymnastic shows to celebrate the country's major holidays in August and October this year, according to a Beijing-based tour agency.

Koryo Tours said on its website that North Korea recently informed the company of its plans to hold the gymnastic propaganda show in time for the 75th anniversary of the Liberation Day from Japan's colonial rule on Aug. 15 and the 75th founding anniversary of the ruling Workers' Party on Oct. 15.

"The performance would be similar to the mass games of 2019 'People's Country,' but the title will change and so will sections of the performance to mark in what in terms of the DPRK are two of the most significant public holidays," the agency said.

N. Korea's paper warns against lowering guard against coronavirus

SEOUL, Feb. 19 (Yonhap) -- North Korea has seen no confirmed cases of the new coronavirus, but the country should never let its guard down in its nationwide fight to prevent the virus from reaching the country, its official newspaper said Wednesday.

North Korea has repeatedly claimed that there has been no outbreak of COVID-19 on its soil despite speculation it is concealing an outbreak of the virus that emerged from neighboring China and has been spreading into many countries.

"Of course, our country has not seen any single infection yet," the Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the North's ruling party, said in an article. "But we should never let our guard down."

N. Korea imposes 30-day quarantine to fight coronavirus

SEOUL, Feb. 20 (Yonhap) -- North Korea is making all-out efforts to prevent the new coronavirus from reaching the country, including extending the quarantine period for higher-risk people to 30 days, Pyongyang's ambassador to Geneva was quoted as saying.

Ambassador Han Tae-song made the remarks in an interview with Reuters, stressing that the communist nation has not seen any confirmed case yet of the deadly virus that has killed more than 2,000 people in neighboring China alone.

"I was informed that we extended the quarantine, actually it was 14 days, but according to scientific results, coronavirus could break out even three weeks later. That is why we extended to 30 days quarantine," he was quoted as saying by Reuters. "Prevention is less cost than cure."

N. Korean paper continues to claim no coronavirus cases

SEOUL, Feb. 21 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's official newspaper reaffirmed Friday that no coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the communist nation, even though the virus originating from China has spread fast in the region, including a surge in South Korea.

Hours after South Korea saw its first death from the new COVID-19 virus on Thursday, the Korean Central TV Broadcasting Station carried a report in detail about the case and reported that the number of confirmed cases in the South spiked to 104.

On Friday, the Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the North's ruling party, continued to claim that the country is free from the coronavirus.

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